Pit Garden Roof -- The last piece to an enclosed structure

Pit Garden Roof

We recently finished back filling and building the entry way for our pit garden, and with real winter weather closing in it was about time to frame in and take care of the pit greenhouse roof, above grade walls, and ensure we are weather tight for the winter.    The first step was to frame in a ridge board.

Ridge Board

Ridge Board

Being solo, I installed the vertical support on each side wall, and then nailed on some scrap plywood on each side sticking up from this support creating a groove to place the ridge boards into.   I was then able to stand in the middle of the pit and lift each half of the ridge board into place with only one set of hands.    Once the ridge was in place, I build the front rafter plate, and then got a little help from the little guy and Alanah to install the rafters.  Weather was moving in fast, so the next order of business was to reinstall the tarp used when we were pouring the footing and building the walls, but this time onto the actual frame that was going to support the roof.   Much easier!

Rough frame with tarp covering

Rough frame with tarp covering

Luckily the tarp kept the rain and mixed precipitation out of the structure, and the next day a full court press was on to finish the roof before a snow storm came in the next day.   The rest of the framing involved installing cross members between the rafters, and additional studs for the side walls.

Fully framed

Fully framed

Once the framing was finished sprinting into the night was required to install the 8mm Twinwall Polycarbonate roofing panels and more 3/4″ exterior grade weather protected plywood.   The two roofing materials were brought together with a double layer of foam seal under a metal ridge cap.

Detail of all the roofing materials coming together.

Detail of all the roofing materials coming together.

Thankfully we were able to get everything in place and cleaned up under the lights.

6

The storm then came as predicted and the next morning we were greeted with 6 fresh inches of heavy wet snow testing the newly constructed roof.  It Held!

Clearing the roof of snow

Clearing the roof of snow

Of course as weather is fickle, especially this being the shoulder season, a day later, on Thanksgiving, it was 50 degrees and sunny, so work was able to continue.   I had only been able to secure the roof at a bare minimum racing the darkness the other day, so today was about adding fasteners and weather sealing to the structure.

Adding gasket material between the poly roofing and framing on the end walls.

Adding gasket material between the poly roofing and framing on the end walls.

Silicon Caulk applied to all the gaps, our power for the greenhouse comes from this cord.

Silicon Caulk applied to all the gaps, our power for the greenhouse comes from this cord.

I sealed gaps around the panels, between the plywood, throughout the framing, etc. with plenty of Silicon Caulk.   I don’t think you can use too much!   Now it was time to work inside, and inside it was downright hot on this nice sunny day.

Sun shining and heating the inside of the greenhouse.

Sun shining and heating the inside of the greenhouse.

Adding insulation to the end framed walls.

Adding insulation to the end framed walls.

Finishing the inside walls

Finishing the inside walls

Still much more work to do, but we’re getting close.  From the outside, a finished product from our design has evolved.

Looking Good!

Looking Good!

We can’t wait to be pit gardening in our pit greenhouse in the next couple of weeks!  Keep reading for finishing touches and the planting of seeds….

Don’t forget to check out our site for everything pit gardening which includes a web forum to discuss design, building, and gardening in pit greenhouses!

Got something to say?  Please post in our forums!

Andrew Blessing

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